India and Australia will focus on the 50-over format for a three-match series starting March 17. Both teams have faces that will form the base of their respective World Cup squads later this year in India. A series of utmost importance, players will be keen to fire given there is a chance to impress the management.
India and Australia matches have mostly been high-scoring affairs of late. Australia have won six of the last 10 ODI games, whereas India have claimed four wins. The battle between individuals can set up the series well in a high-octane series with little to separate the two sides.
On the same note, we look at the key player battles ahead of the series.
Virat Kohli vs Adam Zampa
India’s Virat Kohli is nearing the 13000-run mark (12809). He also boasts a good record versus the Aussies, having scored 2083 runs at an average well above 50. Kohli’s biggest challenge will be in the form of Aussie leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who has managed 127 wickets at 27.66. As per Cricmetric, Kohli has scored 214 runs against Zampa, having faced 193 balls. He has smashed 18 fours and two sixes, facing a total of 59 dots. Zampa has dismissed Kohli five times and will look to enhance the numbers. As per Cricinfo, Kohli averages 42.66 versus spinners in ODIs since 2020. He has been dismissed on 12 occasions across 20 innings, scoring 512 runs.
Shubman Gill vs Mitchell Starc
Indian opener Shubman Gill has been electric of late in ODIs. In his short ODI career, Gill has managed 1254 runs from 21 matches at 73.76. Gill will be tested immensely by the experienced Mitchell Starc. Left-arm pacer Starc has claimed 211 wickets at an impressive 22.13. Starc can get the ball to talk both ways and has excellent fuller deliveries up his sleeves. For Gill, timing and placement will be essential. Gill has an excellent record against left-arm pacers in ODI cricket. He has tallied 103 runs across seven innings, being dismissed just once.
Mohammed Siraj vs David Warner
Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj has claimed 38 scalps in 21 games at 20.73. He has shown good shape and character, being among the wickets. Siraj will be aiming to hand India a positive start, and getting David Warner’s scalp will be key. In 141 games, David Warner has managed 6007 runs at 45.16. Versus India, the southpaw has scored 990 runs at 52.10. Warner can be vulnerable initially, and Siraj will have to be solid with his offerings, keeping things tight. In 21 innings, Siraj has claimed 11 wickets of left-handed batters., averaging an impressive 24.81.
Steve Smith vs Ravindra Jadeja
Steve Smith is nearing the 5000-run mark in ODIs, scoring well above 1100 runs versus India. Smith is a solid customer in that Aussie batting order, boasting experience and quality. Smith will look to continue his dominance over Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, having scored 182 runs from 147 balls against the left-arm spinner. He has been out just once. As per Cricinfo, Smith has tallied 844 runs versus left-arm spinners in ODIs at 56.26. He has been dismissed 15 times. Jadeja isn’t a big turner of the ball and will rely on his accuracy to keep Smith quiet.
Marnus Labuschagne vs Umran Malik
Marnus Labuschagne will be a key figure for the Aussie in the number three position. He is someone who can build the Aussie innings and rotate the strike well. India will have to be careful against Labuschagne, and the exposure of Umran Malik will be a key building tactic for his confidence and character. Malik has a serious pace, and it could be challenging for Labuschagne to negotiate movement. In 8 ODIs, Umran has 13 wickets. Labuschagne will try to feed on Umran’s inexperience and dominate him by unsettling his rhythm.